Daily Dispatches:

July 16, 2002 – On to the Serengeti!

I’m calling now on July 16th. These days are so full that it’s hard to even remember all to recount as I give you the report of our adventures out here. Our walk back through the forest and out to the park gate yesterday was long, but by all accounts really enjoyable. When we walked back through the park boundary, most of the climbers were taken aback and surprised to hear the cheers and congratulations from the entire Berg Adventures African staff. (A bunch of guys have run down with the heavy loads of course, cleaned themselves up, put on their Berg Adventures T-shirts and waited with congratulatory salutes for our tired climbers).

I’m looking up at Mount Meru, right above the town of Arusha now over 15,000 feet high, clear sky’s all about. We have had a busy morning, Charles, Deke and Karen took one of the drivers and went shopping. Of course Charles and Deke are off to Nairobi for the flight home tonight. So they went to purchase some tanzanite and do a little bit of last minute shopping and Karen joined them even though she is going to be with us a bit longer. And of course Mary went and found a local school as she always does, escorted by a driver named Deo. I saw that they just came back moments ago, I haven’t gotten a report, but I’m sure everyone back home at Lansing will hear about Mary’s contact with the local school here in Arusha.

And the big news for the rest of us is that we are in fact less than and hour from going out to the local airport for our flight to the middle of Serengeti. I can tell you now, if you are listening in following your friends and relatives, it’s going to blow them away. I don’t really think yet that people appreciate how far away from Arusha, Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru and what a wonderful feeling it’s going to be to land in the middle of Serengeti. I will be sending you reports daily from safari and in particular, check with us tomorrow because early in the morning we will be transported out to our hot air balloon ride over Serengeti. …We’re starting off with a bang! So it’s a bit of a bittersweet moment here right now because the group is tired. Jeannine has joined us of course, and Charles and Deke are taking off to Nairobi. There will be some hugging and handshaking and a few teary moments as we part ways but the adventure continues, with the satisfaction of Kilimanjaro summit behind us, but we have a long ways to go and many stories to share in the coming days. And we will look forward to doing that.